Newspaper Writing, Opinion, Sample Work

Hold the Plan and Live the Dream

holdtheplanPublished June 2014: The Messenger – Faith: A Fresh Take

Hold the Plan and Live the Dream

I’ve always been a dreamer and a planner. I remember spending my days and nights in elementary school plotting out my career, my plans to perform on stage in front of thousands of people, and of course, marrying the most popular Cardinals’ baseball player at the time.

When I was in college, not a week went by when I didn’t review my degree checklist, plot out the classes I would take and update my resume like it was going out of style each day.

But, my plans weren’t perfect and inevitably, the plans changed. I didn’t sing on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans and I certainly didn’t marry a professional baseball player.

Instead, I worked my way through college, found a fulfilling career as a writer and teacher and raised two children who are now teenagers. I quickly learned that even the best-laid plans are never set in stone. However, when you let go of the urge to plan out every single detail, something even better comes along.

Parenting has been, and still is, my most important job. Even more so, it was the best dream come true. I have had the pleasure of watching both of my children take their first steps, say their first words and accomplish ‘firsts’ they never dreamed of throughout their life so far. I’ve witnessed them take their First Communion, select their Confirmation names and ponder their faith.

I never dreamed I would experience so much joy watching my children plan and dream – something I can’t control, nor would I ever want to. I see a little bit of me in them when they plan out the classes they want to take, colleges they want to visit and even lay out the clothes they want to wear the next day.

They see the importance of planning but more importantly, they have the desire to dream.

As I watch my children dream, succeed, fail, pick up the pieces and plan again, I can’t help but feel they have more guidance than they realize. They have a faith community guiding them, grandparents and family friends who pray for them and a mother who prays that they will never give up on their dreams.

Through all those years of planning as a child and eventually an adult, I learned that you can never stop dreaming. Our dreams are what keep us moving upward, keep our faith in the future and help us accomplish the small steps that lead to each big goal.

Even though I love my career and wouldn’t trade parenting for anything else in the world, I can’t help but plan for the next phase in my life. How will I spend my retirement? Who can I help or assist when my children are grown and building lives of their own? How can I continue to enrich my faith and instill dreams and plans in others?

I’m not old enough to know the answers to these questions, but until then, I will continue to plan, knowing that the course may change and the dreams may get bigger. And, you can bet that my faith will be along for the ride.

— Shannon Philpott

Read More Fresh Takes on Faith HERE

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